David Johnson, former Hog from Hope, trucked in the melons, as usual. He said they came from the "Razorback Patch." That's a special patch grown specifically for this day each year.
It's always been just "Watermelon Day" in the past, but David said he has renamed it "Paul Eells Watermelon Day" in honor of the late Voice of the Razorbacks. He said he always hoped that Paul would be on hand when he arrived because it made it a better day. He always sent Paul home with a melon or two.
David usually celebrates the day with a melon punching contest with the head coach and did so again Friday. That is a deal where two melons are put side by side on the ground and he and Houston Nutt punch them with their fist to see who can break one open the fastest. David won for the fifth time in six years.
"He let me win one year," Nutt said. "He got me again today."
Johnson wouldn't have any of that. He said he doesn't ever let someone win and he said today's contest was a dead heat. He said both needed two punches to break open the melon. It's not a matter of time, but number of punches, Johnson said. He had Ricky Harrell, UA center, as the official starter for the contest. He said he picked Harrell because he found out Friday that the Harrell family has a farm in Fulton, Ark., just 14 miles from Hope.
"That might as well be Hope," Johnson said. "He knows a good melon and he was the starter today."
At any rate, it was a fun time for players and coaches after the morning workout, the last day of two-a-days.
"These are good melons," Johnson said. "They are grown by Jackie and Martha May of Hope. They have several fields and most of them are way far away from the home. But there is one right outside their window and they watch over it carefully all summer, giving it extra water. It's the Razorback Patch and it's always got the best melons. That's what we brought today, melons from the Razorback Patch."
Paul Eells Melon Day
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